Facebook and Twitter


and follow my blog on Twitter @pharmacynic to receive notifications on new posts.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

Sympathy Phor The Devil

ApologiseExpress regret for something that one has done wrong.
SympathiseAgree with a sentiment, opinion, or ideology; (having) feelings of pity and sorrow for someone else's misfortune.
Empathise: Understand and share the feelings of another. 

CPP: Why the vocabulary test this morning? 
CP: Our techs are committing one of my least favourite, and arguably most-American sins in retail. 
CPP: Texting while ringing? 
CP: Worse. Saying "I'm sorry" for things that are not their/our phault. 
CPP: Yeah, I'm not a phan of that one either. It's a knee-jerk reaction. We are conditioned to say it. It rings hollow. 
CP: I will take the blame for something that IS my phault, but I am going to continue to place the blame squarely where it belongs. There are a lot of things outside of my control with which I deal all day. These include, but are not limited to: offices calling in scripts; sending scripts electronically; initiating and completing prior auth requests; responding to pharmacy refill requests; responding to pharmacy calls for clarification on poorly-written scripts and/or e-scripts; insurance prices; insurance formularies; insurances requiring 30-, 60-, or 90-days supplies; offices replying to requests for 90-days supplies; drug prices and your copays; you not reading/hearing/comprehending the text/email/voicemail correctly; etc, etc, etc, ad infinitum. 
CPP: Doctors, insurances, and technology, oh my!
CP: Do not say "I'm sorry" when it is not your phault and your intention instead is to convey empathy. 
CPP: Indeed, if you wish to sympathise, say something that evokes that.
CP: We did not receive your prescriptions? 
CPP: Office must not have sent it or could have sent it elsewhere. Bummer, dude. 
CP: Your insurance requires a prior auth so we cannot bill your insurance. I feel your pain.
CPP: You should call them and complain. What are you paying them for?! I too am incensed!
CP: Man, I feel bad phor you son, I got 99 problems but your script ain't one. 
CPP: Like a Hoover, that sucks.
CP: "Happy: smile. Sad: Frown. Use the corresponding face with the corresponding emotion." At fault: apologise. No fault of yours: sympathise. 
CPP: Meg Ryan?
CP: Great line. And I'm not sorry for using it here. 

Friday, May 22, 2020

Random Conversations

Sometimes these conversations, like Jedi negotiations, are short.
Sometimes, they're entertaining on their own.
Sometimes, I like to check if people are paying attention.

Grandmother Of One Boy: I am here to pick up a prescription.
CP: Ok. We need the insurance for him.
GOOB: I'm grandma!
CP: And I'm Batman!
GOOB: <confused look>
CP: Now that we are properly introduced, I still need his insurance.
GOOB: <harumph>

-----

There Is Nothing Yet: I'm here to pick up my prescription.
CP: I have nothing here for you yet.
TINY: I really FEEL like you should have called before I came down.
CP: Really? Because I FEEL like you should have called me. Especially since I don't call people I don't know are coming for surprise visits.
TINY: I FEEL it's your responsibility.
CP: I FEEL you're not understanding that if I'm not expecting something, I can't call to say I didn't get it.

-----

Nurse At Doctor: Here's a prescription for one of our mutual patients.
CP: Thank you.
NAD: Do you need her phone number?
CP: No. I have my own, thanks!

-----

Impatient Patient Frequently Returning Expecting Everyone to Literally Yield: I need my refills.
CP: This prescription is out of refills.
IPFREELY: But I get it every month!
CP: Well, not this month.

-----

IPFREELY: I need my refill today.
CP: It now requires a prior authorisation.
IPFREELY: But I get it every month.
CP: And the sun rises in the East every morning.

#ThingsYouWishYouCouldSay
#SometimesWordsEscapeOnTheirOwn
#OopsWereThoseThoughtsOutLoud

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Hey, When You're Right, You're Right

Always Causing Trouble Upon Pharmacies: I am here for my prescription. 
UT: I do not have anything ready for you today. 
ACTUP: I dropped it off last week and you told me I couldn't get it until today. 
UT: Right. Today is here and you can get it. 
ACTUP: Then why isn't it ready? 
UT: Did you call us and ask for us to fill it today? 
ACTUP: Why should I? You told me today. 
CP: Actually, UT told you "you can fill this next Thursday but as it is more than a few days out, we have no way to set it to fill in the computer for you. You will have to call us that morning and request the fill". Any of this ring any bells? 
ACTUP: I'm going to ring your bells. 
UT: I will get it ready for you now. 
ACTUP: How long? 
UT: About 17 minutes. 
ACTUP: Fine. <mumbles> I'm going to *YCATS. 
CP: <mumbles, in a perfectly audible level> sounds good to me. 
UT: <snickers>
ACTUP: Did your pharmacist just say "sounds good to me"?
UT: <snickers, look at CP askance>
CP: <without looking up> I did. 
ACTUP: <glares menacingly> Excuse ME!
CP: You're excused. For continually acting up in my pharmacy. I've it had it with you. Every month it's the same issue. You mumbled a threat to go to YCATS. I am calling you out on it. Didn't expect that, did you? Listen, if I'm unhappy, I can either whine loudly about it, or just go somewhere else. I often choose to just go somewhere else whereas you opted to whine. I agreed that going somewhere else was a good idea for you. See, we are in agreement. We are of like mind, the two us. Good day!
ACTUP: <slinks away>
UT: Think he'll complain?
CP: Nope. Remember the philosophy is "treat others the way THEY wish to be treated". He wanted to act like an ass and treat us like crap every time he was in here. Today, I took the dominant role and treated him how he wanted to be treated. 
UT: So he's just going to go to YCATS? 
CP: Even if he doesn't he will be the model patient next time. 

*Your Competitor Across The Street

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Responsibility And Trust

ME: With whom do you trust your most important life decisions?
CP: Both of you.
MICE ELF: Pretty brave of you.
ME: Yeah. We could just shut off your life support to claim the life insurance and abscond with the profits of being locked up in your head all these years.
CP: Think about the short-sightedness of that for a moment.
MICE ELF: Damn.
CP: Although you must have been reading my mind lately.
ME: Why's that?
CP: It truly amazes me how many people entrust such a critical task to a person they barely know; how many people will send literally ANYone to retrieve their prescriptions for them or, more importantly, a child of theirs. They treat it as a random task like grabbing a gallon of milk or picking out a card on their way to visit.
MICE ELF: You're saying that picking up a prescription is more important than randomly selecting a funny card for everyone to sign for a coworker on her promotion?
CP: In so many words, yes.
ME: I agree. How many times have we been faced with a scripter-picker-upper dolt (SPUD) who simply shrugs and says "I don't know. I was just told to pick it up on my way over."? or "It's not for me." or, worse yet, "No clue. It's my new girlfriend's kid(s)."?
MICE ELF: Nice choice of mate there, ma'am.
CP: Yes. Please know that when you choose someone to pick up your prescriptions, you are giving them authority and control over decisions that affect your life.
ME: What if we have a counsel about an interaction? A new therapy? A replacement therapy? Or an allergy? *
CP: The person in front of us just shrugs like he's the UPS guy and we just asked him "what's in the box?". **
ME: I love that movie!
MICE ELF: "What's in the box?"
CP: Moving on. . . the result can be equally disastrous. Someone could die because the SPUD in charge of the healthcare information dissemination and decision-making is woefully inept, unprepared, or cares less than the patient who charged him with this task. Let's summarize.
ME: People treat their life-saving medications like a pizza or beer run.
MICE ELF: They assign it to people who don't have the answers to the questions we have for them.
CP: We are relying on these errand SPUDs to make and/or convey important healthcare information to the patient/caregiver when they make the delivery.
ME: Hoping they made the correct decision to pick up both strengths, the old refill, the old and new therapy, the interacting combo, or the long-discontinued therapy that somehow the computer deemed needed refilled.
CP: Or, wasn't needed to be filled but another patient entered her number incorrectly and this patient's medication got filled instead. (It's happened.)
MICE ELF: Good one. And let's hope that the worst thing that happens is the patient yells at us for filling/sending something home with their SPUD they no longer take and demand a refund.
CP: In which case I get to take the call and chastise them for their choice of errand SPUD. These are not decisions to be made lightly. These are medications that can and do affect your life and its quality. Either you care enough to send a competent person to take care of your health or you choose the person you trust just enough to pick out which crappy beer to share with your pie. ***
ME: It's like the joke about the husband who leaves this message for his wife: "The gyna colleges called and said Pabst beer is good. I didn't know you liked beer".
MICE ELF: True, but she at least received the message. I was thinking of Spike from Notting Hill. "You want me to write down all your messages?. . . Nope. Gone completely. . . If we're going for this obsessive writing down all the message. . . "
CP: "I'm just a girl, standing in front of a boy," hoping he can deliver the correct message.
ME: I see what you did there.

*could we call? sure, and maybe we did, but the in-person visit is the one guarantee that we will see you. if you don't come in for it, there's no drug interaction, allergy, or other reaction to worry about and the counsel is moot when we delete the rx. relying on a randomly picked stranger, new fling, or flatmate to relay critical information at all, let alone correctly, is high-risk behaviour.
**can we write a note on the bag? sure. we can do this whole "can I?" thing all day. I could even drive each individual rx to each patient myself along with a counsel note if I can't reach them by phone or in-person but maybe they're not home. I can't be responsible for how people choose to live their lives. I can, however, explain how people should show more concern for their own lives than I do for them.
***my concern for your health is directly proportional to the amount of concern YOU have for it.)

Thursday, May 7, 2020

. . . But. . .

CPP: What's new in CP's brain today?
CP: An interaction UT had the other day. More like most of the interactions UT has throughout the day. And phone calls we receive. And patients with whom we interact. Basically people in general.
CPP: This is rather a broad subject. Explain.
CP: You're my favourite partner and I've really enjoyed working with you these past years and we've shared some remarkable times together. . .
CPP: Are you about to "but" me?
CP: I am. To explain a point.
CPP: You know your "but" renders everything that precedes it as bullshit, right?
CP: Yes. My but is most powerful.
CPP: Moving on. . .
CP: I'm using my powerful but to demonstrate UT's issue.
CPP: Which is?
CP: During patient interactions, anything said by the patient that follows our answer is superfluous, unnecessary information.
CPP: Once we reply "No. We have not received your prescription", everything the patient says is drivel.
CP: Precisely. There is no case to plead. This conversation has ended. I made a statement.
CPP: Like arguing with a woman: anything that comes after she says "fine" is the start of a new argument; another you will certainly lose.
CP: To wit:

PT: I am here to pick up my prescriptions. Did my doctor send them for me?
CP: No. We have not received them today. Thank you and Good Day!
<irrelevance>
PT: He said I need to start them as soon as I get them.
CP: Uh-huh.
PT: He said he was calling it in as soon as I hung up with him.
CP: Mmm-hmmm.
PT: I'm supposed to be going out of town.
CP: <starts filing nails> K.
PT: I don't know why he didn't send it yet.
CP: <blows on nails> Mmmmm.
PT: I wonder when he's going to send it.
CP: Do you need me here for this part or can I move on to another of the myriad of tasks I have waiting for me?

CPP: As you said, everything after our answer is meaningless.
CP: Honestly, we don't even need to be present. I feel like walking away from the drive-thru or placing the phone on the counter while people continue their one-person internal monologue out loud. "Since you don't appear to need me for this, I'm going to step aside and get back to work. Don't call me. I'll call you."
CPP: Sounds like all the brush offs you got in high school and college.
CP: Thanks, Butt.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

This Is Not Phor You

UT: This is not for you.
CP: Singing again? PJ?
UT: Yeah. Just remembered the conversation we had about clothes and peoples' selections regarding trends.
CP: About how, just because it's available in your size doesn't mean you should try to wear it?
UT: Exactly.
CP: What prompted this?
UT: The drive thru.
CP: How, if your window doesn't work, perhaps the drive thru isn't for you?
UT: Right. If if won't go down, it's frozen, or it's otherwise broken, the drive thru is not a service you can utilize at the moment.
CP: If you have no arms, perhaps picking up a hobby like darts, knitting, or sword fighting would be outside the best-suited for your available skill set.
UT: Yet if they were pharmacy patrons, they'd complain we should accommodate them even though their windows don't work.
CP: None shall pass!
UT: You've got no arms!
CP: Yes I have.
UT: Just a flesh wound.
CP: They always say "but it's cold outside" or "my dog is in the car", or "I'm just lazy".
UT: No one ever admits that last one.
CP: Until our drive-thru closed for repairs at one of my stores, I would have sworn some of these people didn't have legs. I'd never seen them standing.
UT: "You can come inside."
CP: "No I can't."
UT: "Why not?"
CP: "No legs."
UT: "Who's working the pedals?"
CP: "Willie."
UT: Lame. Must've had some TADA-lafil. . .
CP: Or you could have the person who entered our lane backwards.
UT: Backwards?
CP: Well, he pulled in so his passenger, whose window did work, could drop off his prescription.
UT: At which point you scolded him on his no-no maneuver.
CP: At which point he left, only to return 15 minutes later. . . pulled in the exact same way.
UT: And did he hit someone?
CP: Nearly. He thought it wise to gun it out of the lane before anyone could enter. Only he managed to miscalculate his timing and nearly gunned it broadside into a little old lady.
UT: The general public is horrible. The public in cars is worse. It's especially apparent during this whole quarantine.
CP: These are the same people Walmart expects to drive a cart correctly down their one-way aisles.
UT: As if I needed another reason to avoid that place.

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

If The Real World Worked. . .

UT: I've realised during all of this COVID chaos that people's perceptions of pharmacy haven't changed.
CP: As have I. Their approach to a New World and its expectations has altered but they continue to treat pharmacy as they always have.
UT and CP: Poorly.
UT: Like a necessary evil with which they have to deal instead of the valuable service we provide.
CP: You're talking about the people from last week.
UT: Right. For some reason patients continue to have different expectations of us than they do of the rest of the world and it's rather consistent with multiple occurrences.
CP: Let's revisit.

<flashback scene>

CP: How may I help you?
Dude Asking For Things: I am here to pick up my prescriptions.
CP: I am sorry sir, but we have nothing for you.
DAFT: My doctor was supposed to call 2 hours ago when I spoke with him on a televisit.
CP: Apparently he did not as I have nothing in my pharmacy for you.
DAFT: Are you sure?
CP: <raises hands>
DAFT: What are you doing?
CP: The old Sure commercials. You know the jingle? "Raise your hands if you're Sure!"
DAFT: Can you call him?
CP: No.
DAFT: Why not?
CP: He's not my doctor. It's after 7pm and he's likely closed.
DAFT: But I need it.
CP: I guess he didn't think it was that important or he would have called. Maybe try his after hours number or his e-chart.

UT: Which would be like this scenario playing out in today's world:

<dream sequence>

UT: Hi! I'm here to pick up my curbside grocery order.
Grocery Store Worker: We have no order ready for you.
UT: My wife was supposed to call it in 3 hours ago.
GSW: Again, we have nothing here.
UT: Can you call her for it?
GSW: No.
UT: Why not?
GSW: She's your wife. That would be weird.
UT: It was worth a shot.
GSW: It really wasn't.
UT: It apparently works at my pharmacy.


Friday, April 24, 2020

In Case We Forgot

CP: Remember how before all this started we weren't respected?
CPP: Yes.
CP: And now we're respected less, to the point of invisibility?
CPP: Yes.
CP: I miss the good old days when it was just disrespect by prescribers and their offices.
CPP: What brought about this nostalgic stroll?
CP: I had to call an office and their phone prompt reminded me of our nonessential status with them.
CPP: Their phone tree had no option for "Pharmacist"?
CP: That and. . .

<phones office, presses "doctor line"
Office Of Pure Stupidity: Doctor's Line? Whassup?
CP: I have an important question about an urgent e-script one of your prescribers just submitted. Based on the medication and indication, it appears the patient needs it soon and I, unfortunately, do not carry this. Can I speak with the prescriber about options?
OOPS: This is the doctor line for urgent calls. Hold please.

*Thank you for calling OOPS refill line. Please call your pharmacy and have them send an electronic refill request. Leave your information for your refill. *BEEP*

CP: Hi. This is CP. I am Head Pill Pauper at Palace of Pills. I was calling because a new medication you prescribed is not available in my store, or locally. I have another strength we can substitute for the short-term until my order arrives if the patient really needs this tonight.

<4 hours later>

CP: Pill Paupers Paradise. How may I help you?
Prescriber at OOPS: I was calling about a prescription I sent earlier.
CP: Would this be the Rx for Ana L. Fischer?
POOPS: It would. I had a question about it.
CP: Would this be an answer to the voicemail I left?
POOPS: What voicemail?
CP: The one I was forced to leave this morning. The one I left immediately after receiving the prescription, typing it myself, calling around to other stores to see if anyone had it? The one I left explaining all of this after calling your prescriber line but the receptionist deemed my sense of urgency only required being turfed to the refill line?
POOPS: I never got your voicemail. I never knew you called.
CP: So now I need to revisit the entire conversation with you. Even though I left all this information and we could have resolved this earlier, my call wasn't deemed important enough to not only be pushed through, but to generate a memo that I called. Sweet. So why were you calling?
POOPS: I wanted to see if you had the Rx in stock.
CP: No.
POOPS: Do you know who may?
CP: No one.
POOPS: Can you order it?
CP: Had you taken my call this morning, I could have had it tomorrow. Now I can't get it in my store for 2 more days.
POOPS: Well we can call the patient. I think she can wait.
CP: Nice. I have some of a lower strength if you want to hold her over for a couple days.
POOPS: I'll call you back.

<2 hours later>
POOPS: She says she can wait a couple days. Go ahead and order it.
CP: Ok. I'd hate to be in her condition right now, but I will order it. Please add me to your list of local pharmacies that has this in stock since I am the only name on the list right now.
POOPS: Will do. Thanks for your help.
CP: It's what I do.